Thomas Mann’s novel The Magic Mountain, which is a major source of inspiration for me in my work, has attracted my greatest interest in its ambiguity as a metaphor of the descent into the otherworld, the experience of death and forgetfulness, the loss of personality, isolation, and an escape into nothingness. I can discern both degradation and sublimity in this image. Of the many themes in the novel, those that I value most are illness, body, and time, which represent both sublimity and degradation to me.
In my work, I look for expression of the human body as of life on the edge of death, and of matter owing endlessly; a representation of humans who in pathological states are le on the margins of time, history, and society, determined by the ritual of physiological functions, and remain in the state of dimensionless present or the eternity of the “frozen now.”
The music composed by Tadeusz Wielecki for the installation is economical and ascetic. We hear the high, piercing, modulated sound of the double bass, the restless, intermittent, recurrent human breath, as well as inarticulate whispers and echoes, which give the impression of being locked in an indefinite empty space. In the vocal part, we hear the German word vierunddreißig repeated by a woman’s voice, sounding like a verdict. The composition is static, devoid of development, suspended in time.